I ran into Gov. Nathan Deal at a gathering of State Farm agents at the Capitol a few minutes ago.
They haven’t been dropped yet, but several bills about to raise the issue of whether those who receive unemployment benefits should be required to pass a drug test.
Tipped off by my friend Austin Rhodes in Augusta, I asked the governor whether he favored the idea. Deal answered with a nuanced “yes.”
”It is something that I certainly would entertain. I think the problem that you have is making sure that they are administered fairly and you don’t have political overtones.”
The governor reminded me that he’d supported similar requirements on the federal level for welfare benefits, and added:
”I don’t think it’s ever been statutorily addressed with regard to unemployment, and there obviously would be some potential challenges if that’s the case.
“You obviously have to address who’s going to pay for it, and obviously you don’t want repeated testing to be done.”
Most people are required, before being hired, to undergo a drug test by their future employers. If that test could be adapted to apply to unemployment insurance as well, then the governor said the burden on the jobless wouldn’t be that great.
A recently passed Florida law tying unemployment benefits to drug-testing has been blocked by a federal judge. One legislator at the gathering said that has slowed down the effort to produce a finished bill.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider